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An article is primarily non-fictional, although it might, at times, contain semi-fictitious anecdotes or imaginary dialogue to illustrate certain points. It is a factual piece, sometimes described as a feature and usually conveys information. Features can describe people, places or events. They could be based on information gathered from various sources as well as data gathered from people through interviews, opinionnaires and other means.
Features on people may include details of their appearance, personality and background. In a short article, brief vivid details are more effective than lengthy descriptions. They can include adjectives, adverbs and simple images. Comparisons with other people will help the readers understand the person who is being described. Quoting the subject's actual speech adds to aspects of his/her personality.
What about the emergence of drug resistant TB?
Multi Drug Resistance is one of the threats to TB control, to DOTS [directly observed treatment, short course), so is TB-HIV. But TB is an independent pandemic. Ninety percent of TB cases can be cured easily. Only 3-4 per cent of global cases are estimated to have drug resistant TB-about 400,000 cases each year. Those cases cannot be treated like normal TB. The other mistake of the international community was that five to six years ago we were not advocating for new tools, engaging the private sector, pharma. Now, we have new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics in the pipeline.
How important is an integrated approach to HIV and TB?
TB and HIV are married in sub-Saharan Africa and in South-East Asia it is growing. There is no doubt that TB is the number one cause of mortality among people living with HIV/AIDS. There are actions that can be done now. AIDS programmes can work with TB programmes to reduce the burden of TB among people living with HIV and vice versa. Access to antiretrovirals should be scaled up. It is a disgrace that for so long antiretrovirals were available and now we are seeing them slowly rolled out in Africa.
And in India?
The HIV epidemic is growing in India. So this is the time to do the prevention to start scaling up testing for HIV among TB patients, to be more open about the fact that the two diseases are working together secretly and slowly.
Asia is more complex because of the population growth. Africa has the highest per capita rates of TB but the highest absolute numbers are in Asia. Sixty-four per cent of the TB cases come from Asia. There is a potentially explosive problem in Asia if TB-HIV and drug resistant TB are not addressed.
How important is the community in shutting off the tap and keeping patients adhering to treatment?
TB can be cured by participation of the community, faith-based organizations, sport clubs, the private sector. We need to make sure we educate people and convince the community to participate. Health systems are weak, infrastructure is not available widely, there are areas in India and Africa where people have to walk a long way to get to the health services. Convincing the community is the most important.
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